Young people participating less in some outdoor activities

Bye-bye boating, aloha ATVs. The University of Minnesota Tourism Center has found in recent years that young people around the ages of 18 to 24 are finding new, more thrilling ways to be active outdoors. Department of Forest Resources professor and Tourism Center head Ingrid Schneider said sheâÄôs noticed a constant decline in young people participating in traditional recreational activities, like hunting, camping and fishing. Instead, she says, young people seek out more thrilling and technology based activities. âÄúOnce people turn 18, their participation in outdoor activities twice a week or more drops 25 percent,âÄù she said. To entice younger people, Schneider said national and state parks have implemented new technologies to use outdoors, like geocaching. Kathy Dummer , assistant manager at St. PaulâÄôs Fort Snelling State Park , said their newly-debuted geocaching program has been very successful. âÄúItâÄôs basically a high tech scavenger hunt,âÄù Dummer said. âÄúA GPS unit takes the place of what used to be a compass when people would go orienteering.âÄù In just the last four years, the number of geocaching systems has increased significantly, Schneider said. âÄúIn 2004 there were 50,000 caches in the world and in 2008 there are more than 662,000,âÄù she said. According to Schneider, the St. Paul campus zip code has 3,700 caches, with 5,200 in the Minneapolis campus zip code. In addition to new technologies, more extreme activities, like snowboarding and wakeboarding are gaining popularity, Schneider said. âÄúOne in five people 16 years or older engage in all terrain vehicles,âÄù Schneider said. In 2007, an estimated 44 million people were thought to participate in the activity. Great River Bluff State Park manager Rick Samples said even with those findings, his park has still seen a constant flow of activity, especially over the recent Minnesota Education Association weekend. âÄúIf this weekendâÄôs any indication, IâÄôd say we got a lot of use,âÄù Samples said. âÄúWeâÄôre really busy right now.âÄù Michael Schaan , a sophomore marketing major, said he grew up hunting and fishing in his hometown of Fargo, ND, but his hectic college schedule makes it increasingly difficult to participate. Schaan, who used to stay in cabins on long hunting trips, says it hard to find the time because âÄú[hunting] takes an entire weekend.âÄù Schneider explained that some younger people may resort to video games rather than traditional outdoor recreation because electronics have become so accessible. Schaan agreed, adding that simplicity may be the reason. âÄúYou can plug in and play video games for a couple hours,âÄù Schaan said.